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Painter, graphic artist, applied artist, designer, teacher. Born in the Latvian town of Lucyn (now Ludza) in the family of a small Jewish trader and craftsman called Grigory Chashnik (1902). Moved with his family to Vitebsk, where he worked as an apprentice to a watchmaker (from 1913). Studied under Yehuda Pen in Vitebsk (1915–18), architecture at the State Free Arts Studios in Moscow (1918) and under Marc Chagall, Kazimir Malevich and El Lissitzky at the Vitebsk School of Art (1919–22). Headed the architecture and technical faculty with Lazar Khidekel after El Lissitzky moved to Moscow (1920) and taught painterly construction at the Vitebsk School of Art (1922). Member of UNOVIS (1920). Decorated trams, buildings and the streets of Vitebsk and Smolensk on Communist holidays (1920–21), designed and published the AERO lithographed magazine with Lazar Khidekel (1920–21). Accompanied Kazimir Malevich and a group of other students to Petrograd (1922). Designed forms and painted compositions at the State Porcelain Factory (1922–24). Worked under Kazimir Malevich at the formal and theoretical department in the Institute of Artistic Culture (1923–26), with Konstantin Rozhdestvensky at the department of the experimental study of the poster at the Decorative Institute (1925–26) and at the Institute of the History of the Arts (1926–27). Created architectons with Kazimir Malevich (1923–26). Worked with Nikolai Suetin for Alexander Nikolsky’s architectural brigade (1927–28), designing wallpaper and colour schemes for painting buildings. Married Cecilia Gorodneva (1907–1973) and had a son called Ilya (1929). Died after an appendix operation in Leningrad (1929). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1920). Contributed to the exhibitions of UNOVIS in Vitebsk (1920, 1921) and Moscow (1921, 1922), Exhibition of Pictures of Petrograd Artists of All Directions in Petrograd (1923), Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris (1925), Posters and Advertising after October at the House of Printing in Leningrad (1926), Terza Mostra Internazionale delle Arti Decorative in Monza (1927), Artists of the RSFSR Over Fifteen Years in Leningrad (1932) and Moscow (1933), Ilya Chashnik and the Russian Avant Garde: Abstraction and Beyond at the Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery of the University of Texas in Austin (1981), Malevich, Suetin, Chashnik at the Leonard Hutton Galleries in New York (1983), Malevitch, Tchachnik, Souietine – dessins suprematistes at the Galerie Pierre Brullé in Paris (1995) and a one-man show at the Leonard Hutton Galleries in New York (1979–80).